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Wild Grapevine Designs

vine designs.jpg These unique designs are simply made with fresh cut grapevines and vine sprouts hand-turned and woven upon themselves. Then carefully fire-dried for lasting quality both indoors and out in every season. You won't find anything else quite like them!
(Click on an item to see designs).

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Wild grapevines are known to be as ancient as the neolithic period from archeological and anthropological studies. Varying species can be found around the world, from North America to South America and from Europe to Africa and the Near East, and have influenced cultures throughout history.

The essence of the wild grapevine is as diverse in its symbolism and sacredness as the cultures it has touched. From ancient times to the present, grapevines are found in art, on pottery, gravestones and furniture, and used for weddings, funerals, and distinctive medals of the armed forces, as well as religious ceremonies and rituals.

Ancient Egyptians used grapevines in art symbolizing the heart, the blood, and life. The ancient Celtic culture used the grapevine in ceremonial rituals to symbolize harvest, thanks for positive happenings, and rebirth and transformation. The western zodiac associates the grapevine with Virgo as the "Harvest Maiden", and the Gothic symbolism is of fertility.

The "original" grapevine represents Israel (the nation) in the Jewish culture, as well as peace and abundance. For Christians, Jesus Christ is represented by the grapevine. The fruit (wine) is the blood of Jesus Christ, symbolizing life and immortality. The grapevine is also a part of the Eucharist symbolizing sacrifice. Gravestones can be found across the country engraved with the grapevine. As a gift of sympathy, some people give a grapevine wreath to symbolize the rewards of living a Godly life and victory in death.

"Heard it through the grapevine" is a familiar phrase. Many organizations and communities use the "grapevine" to communicate with like-minded peoples. The grapevine has even touched the armed forces. A WWII Distinctive Unit Medal bears two grapevine sprigs representing strength and support.

The wild grapevine also holds a place in North American legends. In the West, old Hopi stories tell of a canyon full of grapevines. A place where a spring comes forth providing water for plants, birds, animals and the people. One story says the canyon is the origin of grapes in North America. "Grapevine Canyon" is a sacred site, and the grapevine is very important to the Hopi. It produces food and helps other living things grow. The vines represent all plant life. In the East, before Columbus discovered America, explorers from Greenland and Iceland settled in this lush, green, land of plenty. Legend has it, there were so many wild grapevines, they called the land "Vinland", land of the vines.

Some people love the wild grapevine; you can find it in backyards, as well as in the wild. The native, deciduous, woody, high climbing vine is known by many names. Depending on where you are in the country, you can find mustang, concord or fox, for example. The fruit is best for juice and jellies, and wreaths are commonly made from the vines and sprouts.

It's hard to believe, but the wild grapevine is threatened in some areas due to lack of environment from expanding communities and valuable timber industries. Hardy, tenacious and yet delicate, these vines are best saved through environmentally sound practices of forest management and preservation.

wild grapevines.jpg The vines should be cut from valuable timber. They rob the trees of sunlight and suppress the growth of seedlings. Crop trees become disfigured under the weight of the vines, causing the tree trunk to bend and twist. They can also break tree tops and limbs, as well as uproot trees. In the event of a fire, the vines become "fire ladders". Like kindling, aiding in the fire's consumption of the woods. The seeds of the grapevine lie dormant in the soil ready to start again. The open canopy favors the growth of the shade intolerant vines.

Wild grapevines develop primarily from seeds. Male and female plants flower separately and are pollinated by wind, rain, animals and insects. Only the female plants produce fruit. These thick woody vines grow slowly, but when cut, sprout prolifically. These sprouts are thin and grow rapidly.

Controlled growth will preserve the wild grapevines that they may continue to provide food and cover for wildlife. Minimized growing areas such as woodland edges, near creeks, dead, nesting trees and non-valuable timber, will help to maintain a healthy woods. Especially when other food sources are slim, many animals depend on the wild grapevine. The fruit provides for many song birds, as well as game birds like quail, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasant, and wild turkey (which find the grapes highly palatable). Fur bearing animals, bear, deer, raccoon and skunk also depend on the fruit during these times. An entanglement of vines provides cover for birds and small animals. The bark of the vine is used by squirrels and song birds for nesting material.

In addition to providing food and cover for wildlife, wild grapevines help stop soil erosion. The vines easily root wherever they touch the ground, and grow in a variety of soils and conditions. You can find vines anywhere from rocky, sandy or clay conditions to poorly drained and nutrient-rich soils.

If you go to the woods to find wild grapevines for their fruit, look on slopes facing Southeast where organic matter has accumulated or in dense ravines. The abundance of fruit produced is directly related to the site conditions; moderately moist soil being the most productive.

For more information about wild grapevines and the environment, try these links:

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Mama & Papa Bear's Creations, Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Contact us at 1bear1@merr.com.